Emmaville, Glen Innes Highlands.
All year Fri-Wed 10-16,
Closed public holidays.
Adults one gold coin.
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Emmaville Mining Museum, 86 Moore Street, Emmaville, NSW 2371, Tel: +61-2-6734-7025.
Glen Innes Visitor Centre, 152 Church St, Glen Innes, Tel: +61-2-6730-2400. E-mail:
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|tin discovered in the area.
|collection first displayed in the closed bakery shop.
Emmaville Mining Museum is simply named after the small town Emmaville in the Glen Innes Highlands. The museum was crated by Jack Curnow and his wife who owend the local bakery. They closed the bakery in 1969 and retired. They were collecting for decades and used the now empty shop to display their vast collection of minerals and photographs. They bequeathed their collection to the community in the hope that they could establish a museum. And the local council actually purchased the old Foley’s Store in Emmaville. Volunteers began remodelling the building to house the Curnow collection. And as a result several other local collectors donated or bequeathed their collection to the community. The museum now houses the Jillet, Gilbey, Ellis, Schumacher, Trethewey, Hermann and Maskey collections.
The collection over 4,000 mineral and gem specimens is really exceptional. Quite impressive is also a collection of over 400 photographs of the old mines, miners, and the town Emmaville. In the backyard is a machinery shed filled with old mining equipment, where you can see how the miners worked. But there is also Foley’s General Store Museum, a replica blacksmith’s shop, and an old wood-fired bakery. There is also a collection of 1,500 old bottles. One of the weirder exhibits is a miner’s hut with a stuffed black panther. It was actually shot in the area in 1902, but the locals never found out how it got there. Obviously it was transported to Australia by someone and was able to flee, but the getaway ended here. There have been additional panther sightings, the last in 1968, but the elusive Emmavile panther has become a sort of local joke.
In the 19th century farmers settled in the hills and a small town named Vegetable Creek was founded. But in 1872 tin was discovered in the area and attracted an influx of people. In the same year the name of the town was changed to Emmaville to honour the wife of the Governor General, Lady Emma Augustus Loftus. The population grew quickly to 7,000 at the turn of the century, which included 2,000 Chinese inhabitants. The city was offering infrastructure for the miners, buying food from the farmers and selling it to the miners. But finally the mining vanished and the last mine was closed. Emmaville is today a tiny hamlet of a few hundred people.
There are still many minerals and ores in the ground which attracts fossickers (Australian for mineral collectors). The volunteers at the museum are a good source for information. They might also point you to the ruins of the nearby Ottery Mine, opened as a tin mine, it became one of the few places to mine and refine arsenic. Be aware that Australia's economy is based on mining and collecting rocks or minerals always requires a permit.